Do words mean anything anymore? That’s the question prompted by Rep. Maxwell Frost’s most recent unhinged statement on MSNBC, where he decried an expansion of civil liberties as “fascism.”
The first-term Florida congressman, a progressive Democrat, was asked by host Joy Reid about Florida Republicans’ ongoing move to expand gun rights. They’re considering enacting “constitutional carry,” allowing citizens to concealed carry handguns without a permit. This isn’t actually anything outlandish or novel. People such as violent felons would still be legally prohibited from carrying guns and Florida would join 25 other states that have a similar “constitutional carry” regiment.
But we can’t let those pesky facts get in the way of some partisan fearmongering.
“What we’re seeing in Florida is scary, and I’m blunt about it, it’s fascism,” Frost said. “This is legislation that will result in death. People will die if this bill passes.”
Joy Reid: Florida "is now thinking about going permit-less carry…with very little in the way of a background check. What is happening?!"
Rep. Maxwell Frost: "It's fascism." pic.twitter.com/9Bm1kpB6Xf
— Townhall.com (@townhallcom) February 8, 2023
There’s something jarring about hearing an expansion of citizens’ freedom described as “fascism.” For context, “fascism” is a far-right political ideology that supports an autocratic, centralized, massively powerful government and uses it to crush opposition and dissent.
It’s an understatement to say that fascists are not known for supporting citizens’ rights to bear arms and defend themselves from an oppressive government. In fact, Hitler infamously disarmed many Jewish citizens several years before the Holocaust.
So, while one could certainly argue against constitutional carry on policy grounds, to call expanding citizens’ gun rights “fascist” is just bizarre and wildly inaccurate. Democratic-leaning states such as Maine and Vermont also have constitutional carry. Are we supposed to believe they’re “fascist” too, Maxwell?
It’s also baseless fearmongering to suggest that constitutional carry is going to lead to a wave of death in Florida. The Florida Sheriffs Association is endorsing the move… an unlikely group to back something that would set off a crime wave. What’s more, the 25 states that have constitutional carry policies in place vary wildly in outcomes, with some having high murder rates but others, like New Hampshire, Maine, and Vermont, having very low ones.
In sum, the breathless warnings Maxwell Frost hyperventilated out on air with Joy Reid can be safely discarded as the partisan, hyperbolic trash they truly are.